We all can remember our parents yelling at us to “turn that music down” and as we got older, we began to realize that maybe our parents knew a thing or two about our hearing health! An online poll was commissioned by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the results indicated that parents are concerned about potential hearing loss in their children. A staggering 84% of all parents polled say they are concerned that misuse of personal audio technology is damaging the hearing of children in general, and 75% of parents say teaching children how to use personal audio technology safely should be a major health priority, however only 50% of parents have discussed safe listening with their kids.
The parents surveyed have a reason to be concerned! Frequent listening to headphones at high volumes for extended periods of time can result in lifelong hearing loss. The loss may occur painlessly and gradually, often going unnoticed until it is too late. Research has show that even minimal hearing loss can affect social interaction, communication skills, behavior, emotional development, and academic performance. Children are using media for hours daily, studies and surveys repeatedly report, and kids who don’t know how to use personal audio technology safely may harm their hearing.
So what can we do as adults, other than continue to nag our children to turn down the tunes? One way is to join the 50% that do talk to their children, and create a culture of communicating about the dangers of loud noises. Some basic tips you can share with your children include:
- Keep the volume down. A good guideline is half volume.
- Limit listening time. Give your hearing “quiet breaks.”
- Practice what you preach – model good listening habits for your children.
Together you and your child can ensure they hear to the best of their abilities!